IN THE FACE

even when I preside this matter of conducting business troubles words and more words plus reflection in place of action called to be a community exemplifying unity in love (Mark 9:50 and Ephesians 4:3-4) yet how scattered we are yet how often grieved another report to minute for the archives *   *   * asked by […]

SERIOUSLY SCORPIO

Why wait for the dust to settle? Here are 10 bullets from my end.

~*~

  1. Am imagining evenings for violin and piano. How long since I’ve even picked up rosin and bow!
  2. A drive through a stretch I call the Black Forest can be quite amazing now. So luminescent, a golden-yellow tunnel of light.
  3. Indian Summer officially comes after the first killing frost. It’s almost scary.
  4. How much I feel myself a dilettante. A little of this, a little of that.
  5. The Big Question? (Questions! Yes, it’s questions!)
  6. It’s important to have a place to wind down, to fester, to percolate. To look at the messy side of your existence. (Nothing of that in a Frank Lloyd Wright home.)
  7. Reza Baraheni is the Iranian poet I heard read after his release from prison and torture. He warned that the alternative to the Shah would be even worse.
  8. My Mediterraneo poetry project had me reconsidering Greek and Roman mythology and then seeing that in contrast to theology. What strikes me is how convoluted it is, more than even Hindu cosmologies, and how anthropromorphic, down to the birthing or immortals slaying other immortals while frozen in time. How intricately it’s bound to a specific locale and its people. In contrast to the One Truth implicit in monotheism, i.e., science, the mythologies give us a cosmos that’s chaotic, ruled by caprice, fear, vengeance, conflicting deities as the source of human suffering. How do you find direction in such confusion?
  9. A neighbor’s 2 1/2-foot iguana is on the loose, according to the poster on the telephone pole. There’s a $100 reward.
  10. You don’t shoot your own troops. Not if you want to win. Otherwise, there’s every reason to mutiny.

~*~

Along the Community Trail through Dover.
Along the Community Trail through Dover.

 

Just in case you were looking for red.
Just in case you were looking for red.

 

FIELD GUIDE

When you walk into the expanse, keep going. Maybe you’ll meet a dwarf at creekside. Maybe a bear. If you do, you must speak respectfully and listen closely to the reply. Even if they call you a yokel, as Kokopelli did.

~*~

A dust storm — sandstorm — and they close the highway.

You must wait. Cover your mouth and eyes.

~*~

On high ridges, bachelor Basque shepherds follow their flocks all summer. Each one and his dogs rarely encounter anyone who speaks Human.

~*~

Wilderness is about clouds, too.

Now what were you dreaming?

~*~

Guides do appear. Sometimes among fellow practitioners. Maybe even your landlord. Or Kokopelli.

~*~

“Who’s standing on my head?” a totem pole figure wonders.

Just like a typical office.

~*~

Blinking in my field of karma, the reminder:

PENDULUM
swinging
back
winter
NIGHTFALL

It’s not the first time.

Be faithful and wait.

~*~

Sometimes a lover becomes a place you want to enter.

Sometimes one’s the space the other envelops.

~*~

Where would I have been without her in that desolate expanse?

~*~

For more insights from the American Far West and Kokopelli, click here.

RECOVERING WHAT HAD BEEN LEFT UNSAID

Decades ago, faced with a question of just what Friends believe, I embarked on an exploration that might provide a more inclusive answer than “Some believe this …” or “Most do that …”

To the surprise of many, the Religious Society of Friends does have a rich underlying theology, one so radical our First Publishers of Truth (one of the original names for the Quaker movement) couldn’t voice it in its fullness in the earliest years before settling into a system of practice rather than fully pursuing its intellectual implications.

Call it an alternative Christianity if you will, but even Friends need to understand its dimensions.

~*~

For more, check out my essays, Religion Turned Upside Down.

DEAR CROSSINGS … WHERE THEY WILL

The mind dances here and there, rarely in a linear fashion. So what’s on my mind these days? How about counting on these fingers?

~*~

  1. So strange to awaken with no agenda for the day, no pressing project at hand. To return abed, with coffee. Not that this is normal, by any stretch of the imagination.
  2. My big dream for financial liberation: HAWAIIAN SWEATERS. In northern climates like ours, the popular Hawaiian shirts have about a six-week span of usefulness. But with long sleeves and sufficient heft, their colorful designs just might be welcome for leisure wear the rest of the year. Think of skiing or ice skating or sitting beside the fire. Let me know if you’re interested in investing.
  3. On my way home the other day, had to brake for deer on each side of the road. And then? Such large ears!
  4. Am seeing so many of my literary work turning into history – despite their contemporary focus.
  5. “You write where your soul is” (says Ernest J. Gaines). Not necessarily where your body is.
  6. A long procession – parade – of panel trucks, tractor rigs, pickups – was headed by a hearse. I still don’t know the story.
  7. The Provost’s Wife is quite a character, famous for her parties.
  8. When I’m involved in a project, just plain STOPPING is difficult.
  9. The ocean’s turned wild, restless, throwing big sprays. I’d never be viewing this had that lover returned. Nor would I have written anything of what I have since she left. Seems altogether fitting.
  10. As another said, “Things are slow when it rains.”

~*~

The Ogunquit Art Museum hosts some impressive shows but is open only part of each year.
The Ogunquit Art Museum hosts some impressive shows but is open only part of each year.

 

The central gallery looks out over Perkins Cove, where major artists painted some iconic coastal Maine images in the years before the museum was built.
The central gallery looks out over Perkins Cove, where major artists painted some iconic coastal Maine images in the years before the museum was built.

 

Care to step outdoors?
Care to step outdoors?

DIMENSIONS OF ARTISTRY

The space of art also works in other dimensions. The artists themselves are rarely of the same social class as their benefactors or audience. We repeat the cliché of starving artist, even when some become comfortably wealthy and dwell in chic locales. Still, they’re employed in ethereal fields — actors, musicians, painters, the stagehands and gallery owners, box office managers, and a host of others. They work different schedules from the general populace. Many sleep late or stay up through the night.

There are even the spaces as a work moves away from its creator into other locations. A painting, for example, appears one way in the studio, another way on one’s walls, and still another way in a gallery — none of them resembling what happens when the same piece is hung in a major museum. Musicians and actors know the difference between the intensity and argument of rehearsal and the propriety of performance itself. An author can observe how different a piece appears in manuscript, in galley-proof, in a magazine or literary review, or in a bound book. A poet or a poetry supporter becomes aware of the differences between viewing a piece on the page, voicing it on the lips (either in a public occasion or for one’s own private pleasure), or performing it in a formal reading.

We can move outward, of course. Into ballparks or arenas. The loud crowds. But those are other spaces, in some ways overlapping fine arts and religion.

We might consider as well the ways the fine arts have been acceptable as civic religion. An Oscar or a Grammy is more valued than a Crucifix in our society. A comedian is a better master of ceremonies than a preacher or priest. We’re nervous about civic events held in houses of worship. A wedding or funeral, perhaps, though it carries a sense of crossing into something private.

On the other hand, as religion has retreated largely from public awareness, or perhaps simply to the suburbs and better parking, it has abandoned earlier houses of worship, especially those downtown or in the inner city. Some have been converted to arts spaces — galleries, concert halls, night clubs, theaters, restaurants. I regard these as being somehow different from structures designed and built for arts uses. It’s more than recycling, I’d say.

For more insights from the American Far West and Kokopelli, click here.